Sneak Peek at the 2013 North American International Auto Show

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is happening in Detroit next week! The show will officially be open to the public January 19 – 27, but we were able to snap some photos during media preview days to share. Check them out in the gallery below and learn more about the show at

Will you be attending NAIAS this year? If you’re looking for things to do in Detroit while in town, see suggestions here.

Driving America at The Henry Ford

It’s my story. It’s your story. It’s everyone’s story.

For everyone who’s ever driven or ridden in, owned, worked on, bought, admired, dreamed about or pretty much walked by a car – Driving America, Henry Ford Museum’s new automotive exhibition, digs deep and tells their story. It tells the story of us – our relationship with the automobile and its impact on American culture.

There was a nice crowd of interested Sunday afternoon visitors who began to travel the exhibition at the same spot we did. Drawn by the neon of the McDonald’s and Lamy’s Diner signs, we began to work our way through the 80,000-square-foot automotive experience.

The traffic was pretty steady along the Driving America Timeline, which gives a chronological overview of the automotive story. After that first stretch, visitors moved to areas that piqued their interests – be it luxury cars, design and style, racing, road trips, custom cars, alternative power and more.

Even with over 130 vehicles and more than 60 cases of artifacts, the exhibition is arranged in an inviting and accessible way. Included in that accessibility are the 18 large interactive touch-screens placed throughout the exhibition. The 42-inch screens invite visitors to engage in activities and explore details and artifacts that are part of the vast collections of The Henry Ford beyond what’s visible on the museum floor.

I have to say, I was blown away with how intuitive and meaningful the touch-screens were. The value and depth of content was remarkable – linking to thousands of additional details, images, videos and oral histories about the displayed artifacts.

My husband and I had two older children with us, and we all were thoroughly engrossed. The kids’ favorite touch-screen activities were Test Drive the Model T, Plan the Car of Your Dreams: 1947, Talk like a Trucker and Help Henry Innovate. I enjoyed taking a quiz regarding my ideal car (which apparently is not my current full-size van!), making a car commercial and sorting through some of the digitized print artifacts. My husband liked the oral histories and the ability to access more detailed information on the spot. He was so intrigued with the racing area of the exhibition and spent most of his time there, and he’s not really a racing fan (yet?).

Some folks are all about the cars. If that’s you, you’ll be satisfied seeing up close some of the most important and significant vehicles of our time – including the first car built by Henry Ford, America’s first production car, the first all-steel utility station wagon and many more. There are also other limited production rarities, century-old electric cars, hot rods, racecars, campers, muscle cars, SUVs and current hybrids.

I, however, am not a car buff by any stretch of the imagination, but I was still completely enthralled by the story Driving America tells. It takes a detailed and fascinating look at the enormous influence the automobile has had on who we are and how it has and will continue to inspire us.

Take some time to read some fun car stories and share your own on The Henry Ford’s blog on the My First Car page.

Driving America is part of Henry Ford Museum’s permanent collections. It is one of the largest automotive-centric exhibitions of its kind. Entrance to Driving America is included in admission to the museum and is free to members of The Henry Ford. Henry Ford Museum is open from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., seven days a week. Henry Ford Museum is part of The Henry Ford – America’s Greatest History Attraction.

Kristine Hass is a writer and a long-time member of The Henry Ford. She frequently blogs about her family’s visits to America’s Greatest History Attraction.

NASCAR, Auto Shows, Ice Cream and Pure Michigan

It’s been a busy week for Pure Michigan and today, we thought we’d catch you up on some of the news you might have missed from earlier this week.

Pure Michigan 400
Yesterday, the Michigan International Speedway and Pure Michigan announced that they are again teaming up to host the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at MIS on Sunday, August 19. The three-year partnership was announced at the North American International Auto Show with two of NASCAR’s most popular and successful drivers, Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr. Check back here later this year for information as we get closer to race day.

Pure Michigan Ride and Drive Track at the Auto Show
Speaking of the North American International Auto Show, be sure to stop by and check out the Pure Michigan Ride and Drive Track–a quarter-mile indoor ride-and-drive test track surrounded by landscaped and forested terrain, where visitors take a ride in electric and hybrid vehicles provided by more than 30 auto manufacturers. This ride and drive area features a sand-covered road to convey a Pure Michigan dune look and feel, and 40 banners displaying natural Michigan scenes will also help create a unique driving experience. Remember, the show opens to the public on January 14th and runs until the 22nd. For a recap of vehicles from the Detroit automakers, check out this post from earlier this week.

Hudsonville Ice Cream “Create a Flavor” Contest
Do you like ice cream and think you have a great name and idea for a new Pure Michigan State Park flavor? Hudsonville Ice Cream in Holland is partnering with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Pure Michigan and has launched a “Create a Flavor” contest where you are encouraged to submit a name and flavor that best represents the outdoor joys of Michigan. The winning flavor will be chosen from a panel of Outstanding Outdoor Kids and celebrity judges.

To enter, visit The grand prize for the winning ice cream flavor includes free Hudsonville ice cream for a year, a one-week stay in a Michigan state park or harbor of the winner’s choice, a $1,000 gift card from Meijer and Pure Michigan merchandise.

The campaign will continue throughout the summer with an RV ice cream tour crossing the state promoting the popular DNR Recreation 101 program. As the official ice cream of the Michigan State Parks, Hudsonville Ice Cream will distribute the winning flavor to retail outlets and ice cream parlors throughout Michigan and the Midwest as well as during the RV ice cream tour this summer.

For more information, check out this audio clip featuring Maia Stephens from the Department of Natural Resources on Shelley Irwin’s Morning Show.

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